A Trip To Borobudur

As one of the world’s civilization heritage, Borobudur has the largest and most complete ensemble of Buddhist relief in the world.

Borobudur temple is located in Magelang, a small town in the north of Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The temple which was built in 9th century by Cailendra dynasty, has stood on a hill surrounded by 4 mountains on each cardinal direction. That mountains are: Merbabu to the East, Merapi to the Northwest, Sumbing to the South and Sindoro to the North.

I have visited Borobudur several times, and the story of this post is from my visit some time ago. That time along with my younger sister and our cousin, we spent few days of our holidays in Yogyakarta.

That sunny morning we left Sabana Homestay on foot to the Trans Yogya bus stop, just about 100meters from Sabana. Yes, we were going to visit Borobudur by public transportation, one thing we have never done before. FYI, usually we went there by car or bus with groups of family or friends.

According to Mr.Suto – owner of Sabana Homestay- we have to take Trans Yogya bus to the Jombor Bus Station. It was less than an hour later we have arrived in Jombor. Even though we have been to Yogyakarta many times, that was our first step to this bus station. I still remember the look on our faces when we got there. There were puzzles on our faces as we have to find a kind of bus with its route to Borobudur. And with our puzzled faces we asked bus station personnel. He smiled and pointed his fingers to the left side and …there the bus!. How come we did not recognized the letters JOMBOR – BOROBUDUR. Hahahah..how foolish we were…

The bus passed the small town of Sleman and Muntilan where along the way we were treated to a typical countryside views such as rice fields, houses, grocery stores , traditional markets, schools , mosques, churches, brick factories, craft industry houses , inns , small hotels plus dusty streets.

It took almost two hours to arrive at Borobudur village. Wait..the journey was not over yet because at this village we agreed to choose a horse carriage to proceed the trip. After a little bargain in Indonesian and Javanese, we finally able to ‘hijack’ the coachman to take us to the main entrance of Borobudur temple.

On a horse carriage….

As I remember ,the conversation was full of laugh…we were not fluent in Javanese and the old coachman can not speak Indonesian. He spoke in very fine Javanese.

And finally, 10 minutes later, we arrived at the main gate, bought the tickets and we were given a piece of batik cloth to cover our lower body. Of course we have to return it back after the visit.

So huge…

As we walked the path from the main gate, I stared at the Borobudur in the distance…so huge and ancient but amazingly keeps many people interested to come. We were no longer feel the heat of the sun as we began to roam on the stone steps.I could not imagine how millions of large stone from the surrounding rivers were lifted to form this magnificent building.

The temple was designed in Javanese Buddhist architecture and consists of nine stacked platforms, six squares and three circular and topped by a central dome. There are more than 2500 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. It is why Borobudur known as the world’s largest Buddhist temple.

Borobudur was built for 75 years under the leadership of architect named Gunadarma and of course there were no advanced equipment nor computer graphic design assistance.

Once completed, the temple known as a place of worship and pilgrimage which was mentioned in several inscriptions. It lasted only about 100 years, following the fall of the Sailendra dynasty. Due to this situation, Buddhist community around the temple gradually felt pressed by the adherents of Hinduism.

The stupas

There was no wonder when in the future, the temple not well maintained and began to be forgotten. Slowly but surely nature began to take over the destruction process. Large trees and volcanic ash began to cover up this magnificent temple.

Then our history stated the services of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles – the Governor General of England who ruled in Dutch East Indies ( now Indonesia) during the transition of Dutch colonial era to England in 1811-1816. Raffles was the one who found a large pile of rocks that caught his attention so he then ordered excavations around the site.

In 1835 the work was proceed by the Dutch General Governor named Hartman. The massive excavations carried out at that time were not give the best result due to the imperfect shape of the temple. Many parts of the temple were missing, cracked and or peeled off.

Still hold the gadgets

Furthermore, between the years 1907 – 1911, a man named Van Erf led a massive restoration even with conventional technology according to the time. The restoration was design to avoid more further damage. In my opinion, Van Erf also had contribute in saving the relics of our ancestors.

Finally, after Indonesia’s independence, the massive restoration was held by Indonesian government and UNESCO. It took about 10 years, from 1973 until February 1983. In 1991 the temple was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nowadays, Borobudur temple is visited by more than three million visitors each year and known as ‘a must see’ place if you visit Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Three of us

We spent more than three hours wandered around the temple. We took pictures , mingled and had a conversation with another visitors , asked many questions to the duty officers and even looked for shelter from the heat of the sun.

As I said before, we have been to this temple few times but we agreed that in the future we will surely keep coming here again. Come to this site. This temple. Borobudur.

 

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The Temple on a Clifftop

What makes people amazed that the temple is
perched on a steep cliff about 70 meters over      
the roaring Indian Ocean waves.

That day, we were heading to  Bukit Peninsula or Peninsula Hill , a place known as the southernmost point of Bali Island. Mr Nyoman, our guide, who was driving carefully passed Jimbaran countryside convinced us that the weather was fine with its blue sky so we had to enjoy our time. My friends (Sinta, Grace , Esra)   and I were on our way to Uluwatu Temple in Pecatu Village, District of Badung,Bali.

The history stated that Uluwatu Temple was built by Empu Kuturan  in 11th  century and is one of six key temples that believed to be Bali’s spiritual pillars. The Balinese Hindus believe that the three divine  powers of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva become one here. It  was amazing   that through many centuries the  sacred temple still perched on top of a steep cliff about 70 meters over the roaring Indian ocean.

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Actually, I have been to this temple three times before, the first one was with my high school friends more than twenty years ago; while the second and the third were with my family a few years ago. Frankly,  I never get tired of coming back here…

While we were walking from the parking lot,  we were passing   ‘Alas Kuturan”  a small forest  dwelt by  hundreds of monkeys  which are believed  to guard the temple from evil and bad  influences.  We were trying to get closer but the three of us too scared. Except Sinta.  She was trying  to touch one of them…

As many of you know, when visiting temples in Bali (as well as another temples in Indonesia) we should dress as modestly as possible.  Sarongs are provided to cover our legs and or a temple scarf to be tied up to our waists. Esra and I got  sarongs  while Sinta and Grace  got the scarfs temple. Why? Because Sinta was wearing batik dress;  Grace was wearing denim trousers while both Esra and I were wearing shorts.  Yes, Esra and I had to cover our lower body.

When  we’re getting closer to the temple, the wind was  blowing  more stronger,  but the atmosphere is getting calm and quiet although there were quite a lot of visitors. We were still walking and then….there we were – facing the roaring ocean…

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#blue #ocean #sky #green #rock

We were looking at the blue Indian Ocean over the separated walls, while on our right was that greenish coral cliff stands defiant against the blue sea. The wall stretches along the cliff to protect  people who walk  to the end of the reef that overhanging to the sea. Unfortunately, we were deciding  not to walk to the end of that peninsula for the weather was so hot and the sun had been beating down on us since morning  when we were visiting Tanjung Benoa and Pandawa beach.

We were taking pictures here and there,  many styles according to each other’s best angles. In the middle of that session we were overwhelming   by our hair, and  the sarongs which  have been flown by the wind. All of us were smiling  so as not to disturb  the silence of the atmosphere.

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Over the roaring ocean

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Esra with her smile

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Sinta and her new fans

By the time to leave the temple , some monkeys were following us. Sinta was asking  me to take her picture with those monkeys. I was telling  Sinta about precautionary signs  that warn visitors of the monkeys grabbing few items such as   bags , cameras or  sunglasses. Only then, when I took her picture those monkeys  were trying to get closer to Sinta and grab  her batik  dress….And Sinta rather hassles  either to  hold  tight her bag,  or  her hat or even her dress.. That was the funniest moment that day.

In fact, each of us have been to this temple few times with different people for  different occasions. Somehow  we were agreeing that although the atmosphere of each visit was different but those memorable visits were worth to be remembered.

A Brief Visit To Pare , Kediri

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After  13 hours journey from Jakarta  by  Krakatau Train , I arrived in Kediri – East Java Province –one  cold  morning in the early November 2015.  Time was 02.55 and the sky was still dark. Frankly, I was so so sleepy but it’s not the end of  the journey.  I was just arrived in Kediri while my destination was Pare , a small town  in the northeast of Kediri.

I got off the train and  realised I brought many things : 1 handbag, 1 backpack and another 2 little bags….sure they made me overwhelmed.  I didn’t  know someone  ran over me and   asked  if I needed a porter. Oh…praise the Lord…there were some porters on duty that early morning. That man yelled out and another man ,an old man,  came toward us and quickly pickep up my ‘treasure’. The backpack was still on back…I prefered to  bring it myself. He walked slowly  and I just followed him since it was  my first time to set foot in Kediri Railway Station.

As we arrived in the parking lot , he led me to a small food stall , put all my luggage down  and asked if I  was waiting for someone to pick me up.  He said all that words in Javanese and I was fairly understood. I  nodded and said , in bahasa Indonesia ,  that my brother would pick me up.  He  ensured me  to wait there   for the place was safe.  I thanked him and gave 15000IDR  as the porter fee.  As he nodded he thank me again in Javanese . Indonesian hospitality. I am proud…

As I said before , Pare is located about 25km northeast of Kediri or 120km southwest of Surabaya – the capital of East Java Province.  Around 1953 – 1954 ,  Clifford Geertz  – US anthropology –   stayed in Pare to research for his book ‘The Religion Of Java’. In that  famous book he disguised the name of Pare to Mojokuto. Nowadays ,  Pare known all over Indonesia for its Kampung Inggris ( English Village ) in the district of Tulungrejo. This is the only place in Indonesia where you can find hundreds of  English educational institutions.  Anyone can study English according  to their purpose and ability. Since most of the institutions facilitate their students with a complete accomodation therefore many people  from out of town even all over Indonesia come  to Pare to learn how to speak and write English properly.  Sounds good…

While  sitting in silence , I looked at the dark blue sky  which  was sparkling with its  shining stars. Well, dark blue sky , shining stars , cold weather ,  the serenity …. I love  that  quiet  beauty of morning.

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Another picture of Simpang Lima Gumul Monument

 

About  30  minutes later, my brother  arrived and we drove to Pare. We stopped at Simpang Lima Gumul Monument  which almost  has  similar shape with Arc de Triomphe Monument in Paris , France. I took some  pictures there   but rather blurry… sorry to say that.   It took  about 40  minutes to drive from Kediri to Pare.  The highway gave  a view of countryside,  sugar plantations , rural houses , government and private  offices , mosques , churches , schools even  public health facilities.

And finally I see the dawn by the time we reached Pare district.The sun has come out.  So beauty…

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Morning glory…

Then… we arrived at home. Safely. Thank God. Since more than 10 years ago I had several  times visited  this small  town .  My only brother lives in Pare with his wife and their 4 funny , smart  children. So… this is me. Back to Pare. Again.

Have you ever been to East Java , Indonesia ?

Jogjakarta = Jogja

Actually, I have been to Jogja many times but I never get bored to come back again again and again.  To me, there are always new things that attractive to see and even  the old things are still excited  to explore. So, this is me….back  to Jogja  (again).

August 17th is Indonesia’s Independence Day, and this year is 70th  years of our independence.  Me and my friends (Linda and Yeni)  spent our time  along with this holiday. Linda and Yeni are sisters. First,   they went  to Solo (about 55km  from Jogja).  Yeni , who works for a publisher in Jakarta had something to do, while Linda -work as a housing marketing also in Jakarta –  is on her day off for few days.They left by train to Solo on August 14 morning, while I headed for Jogja on Sunday August 16 with assumption that I would meet them in Solo. From Jogja  I would take the local train from Lempuyangan Railway Station to Solo Balapan Railway Station.

So,  on  August 16 , promptly at 6:45 am, the train which I was riding ‘Gajah Wong’  left Pasar Senen Railway Station in the central  part of  Jakarta.  Clear weather , warm sun , yellow rays stroke  the window next to me. Well …. hopefully I would be able  to bear the the hot sun on my face  this morning …

Unfortunately , I  did not think to take a picture of bench position on  the train.But I will  draw you as simple as I can… I sat on a bench next to window and the bench beside me was  empty until the train transit in Cirebon ( about 219km from Jakarta ).  With a man and a  woman sat opposite me, I was bound in a conversation and even more familiar after in Cirebon when another passenger -a man- came up and sat next to me. Pleasant conversation… nice time to spent on train.

The listed route on my ticket  was  Pasar Senen – Lempuyangan , but I decided to get off in Tugu Station because by phone Linda said that they’re  already in Jogja. And finally at 14.45… Gajah Wong arrived  in Tugu. So crowded with many people,… this because  it was a long weekend and the city is one of the famous destination in Indonesia.

Linda has been waited outside Tugu Station (while Yeni was already at the  hotel)   and we immediately boarded a rickshaw  to @Hom Platinum Hotel in Jalan Gowongan Kidul (Jalan=Street). We had to pay 25 thousand rupiahs for 10 minutes trip because the driver had to paddle slowly and he had to take another street to reach Jalan Gowongan Kidul. Anyway… we really enjoyed it. Oh yes … I know Linda since 20 years ago. . We worked for Aqua Group, the largest drinking water company in Indonesia. Yenny, Linda’s sister also know me well … we’ve been on vacation together few times.

@HOM Platinum Hotel

We rent a room on 6th floor with a not bad view which we could see few high buildings at a distance. After took a bath we talked many things with ‘chit’  here and ‘chat’ there. Then we agreed to spend the night around Malioboro. Finally after Linda and Yenny had  the evening prayers (=sholat maghrib) , we rushed out and walked down the street. As we passed hotel parking area , we turned right and walked along Gowongan, and at the end of this ,we turned right again . Still walked about 50 meters, we passed the gate of Tugu Station and we overstepped the rail line that stretches on the highway. So, you could imagine how close the hotel with Tugu Station. And in fact after 20 meters we overstepped the rail line we could see  a signpost of Malioboro.

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If you come to Jogja please  don’t forget to pay a brief visit to Malioboro. You could come day or night but I suggest you to come both day and night to feel the different  atmosphere. Malioboro is a tourism icon of Jogjakarta , the heart of Jogja , and a must see place if you come to Jogja. It’s a must…glad to say that.

With a length of  1,5 km , many hotels, shopping areas even office buildings  along this street. Various goods are sold throughout Malioboro.  Batik in many forms , bags, sandals, handicrafts  to various foods.

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malioboro at night

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After walked slowly among so many people on Malioboro…. we decided to buy ‘wedang ronde’ which sold by street hawker. Wedang ronde is a  traditional beverage made from hot ginger water , and some kind of glutinous rice flour  dough in round shape with sweet chopped peanut inside. It’s not just that glutinous dough but also small  square -shaped pieces of bread. This beverage is perfect to drink in cool weather or in the cold of the night. Sure.. it makes my body feel warm.

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We returned to the hotel at about  11 pm … still walked on foot … still talked a lot of things.

Tags :

#jogja #jogjakarta #stasiuntugu #malioboro #neverendingasia #indonesia